Kiwi Skier Ben Richards Wins Career First Freeride World Tour Stop

Ben Richards (Wānaka, 24) has won the Freeride World Tour Fieberbrunn Pro stop in Austria overnight.

The 2024 Tour is Richard’s Rookie season on the Tour and today’s success in Fieberbrunn marks his first Freeride World Tour podium and win of his career.  

Richards explained, “Winning here in Fieberbrunn for the first of the two FWT Finals means a lot to me. I have worked so hard on the FWT Qualifier and Challenger series to get here. To win in this competitive category was beyond my imagination. I'm so happy about it!”

The competition took place on the well-know Wildseeloder, a face that gained its reputation due to its steepness (up to 50 degrees), long vertical drop, and seemingly endless selection of gnarly lines. 

The Fieberbrunn Pro competition boasts an exciting two run format, with only the athletes best run score counting. This differs from the usual one run format, and as expected resulted in some incredible lines being thrown down. 

Richards proved he was there to hunt for a podium from the moment he left the start gate on his first run. He attacked his first run right from the get-go, going huge and skiing fast but unfortunately came unstuck on the final cliff feature. 

With a second run on the cards today, Richards returned to the top of the venue, re-focused and put down the run of his life. His run was full of serious airtime, most notably a 360 on top of the ever-impressive Häusl Cliff in his second attempt of the day. The judges were particularly impressed with his line choice, fluidity and the speed at which he flew down the Wildseeloder face. 

Richards was rewarded a 97.00 (out of 100.00) for his second run, leap frogging him into the top spot where he remained untouchable for the remainder of the event.

Fellow Kiwi Finn Bilous (Wānaka, 24) put down an impressive run, bringing his extensive bag of tricks, including a corked 720 blunt grab, to the Wildseeloder. Bilous scored a huge 91.67 for his first run to finish in fifth in the heavy competition. 

Current ranking leader Max Hitzig (GER) finished in second place with a clean run. Marcus Goguen (CAN) secured his spot on the podium once again, finishing in third.

With just one final stop of the 2024 Freeride World Tour left to come at the Verbier Xtreme next weekend, Richards is currently ranked in third overall, with Bilous in fifth. 

Watch Ben's Run here

P: Jeremy Bernard / Freeride World Tour

Kiwi Skier Ben Richards Wins Career First Freeride World Tour Stop

4 months ago